Thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses meet in France
Tens of thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses gathered on Saturday in cities across France for an annual international gatheringParis - Tens of thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses gathered on Saturday in cities across France for an annual international gathering, the religious movement said.
About 150,000 flocked to meetings with the main gathering in Villepinte, in the Paris region, attracting 50,000 followers.
Several hundred Jehovah's Witnesses were baptised by being immersed in water during the event, which lasts the whole weekend.
Those baptised were adults, following the example of Christ.
Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves the heirs of a primitive form of Christianity.
Their beliefs are strongly based on the text of the Bible and they consider modern Christian Churches to have deviated from the book's true teachings.
Followers reject the ideas of modern evolutionary theory and refuse blood transfusions.
They are perhaps best known for preaching on doorsteps, where they offer religious literature and attempt to convert people.
The movement emerged towards the end of the 19th century in the United States and arrived in France in 1906.
There are more than seven million Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide and around 150,000 in France.
The group's status varies from country to country. They are given the same recognition as mainstream religions in Austria and Germany but are classed as a "recognised cult" in Denmark.
In France, some of their branches have the status of "religious association" but the movement was also mentioned in a 1995 parliamentary report on sects.
AFP / Expatica